By Brenda Barrera
Flipping through TV channels this past weekend I caught some of the Progressive Skate America, a good preview of the 2017 U.S. Nationals coming up on January 14-22 in Kansas City. Then yesterday, I came across this video interview with Olympic gold medalist and beloved figure skating commentator, Scott Hamilton, who is now battling his third brain tumor. As a longtime fan, my heart sank. His courage and matter-of-fact demeanor are not surprising to anyone who has followed his career.
In the interview, he references fellow Olympic gold medalist Kristi Yamaguchi, and they show a clip from the 1991 U. S. Figure Skating Championships where she took a hard fall at the beginning of her program and immediately got up, continued her routine, and finished with a joyful smile. Hamilton noted the life lesson which he shares with beginner ice-skaters: you will fall and make mistakes, but the more times you get up, the stronger you will be for each future obstacle.
Since retiring from the sport, Yamaguchi has added children’s book writer to her impressive resume, beginning with her delightful picture book, DREAM BIG LITTLE PIG about Poppy the Pig who discovers not every activity (ballet, singing) is going to be her calling yet she follows her bliss and pursues ice-skating, which leads to mastering jumps and spins. She attracts a huge fan club and even makes the cover of the “New Pork Times.”
Life obstacles may sideline us, and we may stumble while attempting to twirl through unforeseen circumstances, but as Hamilton shares, it’s how many times you get up that makes you stronger. He chooses to celebrate life. Yamaguchi’s Poppy reminds us to dream big, never to give up, listen to your personal fans (family and friends who believe in you) and keep pursuing your passions.